Outpost reader Kathleen Kost emailed us this video late last night with the snarky subject line, “Thanks city of Eureka.”

Her message went on to say:

This is happening on E & Grotto in Henderson Center. I spoke with one of the workers to ask how long this was going to continue. Her response was “pretty much all night.”  I’m outraged! How the hell are we suppose to sleep?

Apparently, business’ around Henderson Center protested daylight work saying “it would be bad for business.” Wanna know what’s bad for business? When your nurse is kept up all night and makes an error. When your chef can’t sleep and puts peanuts in your peanut allergic kids salad.

I know I’m ranting but, this is insane. I would be ticketed for playing music at half this volume. PEOPLE DO LIVE IN HENDERSON CENTER!

The property, formerly home to Norman’s Dry Cleaners, is undergoing a multi-million-dollar contamination clean-up due to leakage of toxic dry cleaning chemicals dating back more than three decades. The Norman’s building was demolished in the spring, and the latest phase of clean-up involves the destruction of underground monitoring wells and installation of subsurface electrodes that will be used to heat the soil and vaporize the contaminants. (The complexity of this project is truly something; give the Remedial Action Plan a read, if you’re curious.)

So, why jackhammer after 11 p.m.?

The Outpost contacted Eureka Public Works Director Brian Gerving, who said there’s really no ideal time for such work. 

“From the City’s standpoint there’s no getting around the fact that there will be impacts to neighbors, whether it’s commercial or residential or both,” he said. “Noise in the short-term is definitely something to take into consideration, but so are traffic impacts and emergency response access. We’re trying to do it in way to limit impacts to the extent possible.”

Gerving explained that the project is being overseen by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board with help from Bay Area consulting firm WEST Environmental Services & Technology, Inc. 

Dave Parsons with the Water Board echoed Gerving’s sentiments.

“There’s only 24 hours in the day,” he said. “We can’t stop traffic during day. As a consequence, some of this work going to have to be done at night.”

Local business owners did express concerns about the project and asked that it not interfere with their livelihoods. But both Gerving and Parsons said there were other practical barriers to doing the work during the day.

Parsons added that his agency did its “very best” to notify neighbors weeks in advance about last night’s work, and his agency measured noise levels in the residential neighborhood last night.

Gerving forwarded a copy of the public notice that was posted on site and, according to Parsons, distributed to all neighbors within 500 feet. (Read the notice here.)

There will be an on-site meeting Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. where people are invited to come talk about the noise levels they’ve experienced. Project managers say they’ll use that feedback to inform later stages in the clean-up project.

Parsons said this current phase of the project will last about two weeks, with no work on the weekends. 

“We did our very best to notify folks way in advance,” he reiterated. “If you can’t do it during daylight hours, when can you do it?”